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LinuxPlanet: .comment: The Wit and Wisdom of Linus Torvalds

Jan 31, 2001, 13:44 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)

"Yet to people who spend vast time with their machines, those who have become imbued with the zen of it all, operating systems have distinct personalities. No operating system has a more distinct personality than does Linux. That has a great deal to do with the vast number of truly original personalities who built it. They're all over the place. Their mark is made in the comments they place in the code and in the way the code itself works. Their code is an extension of themselves as surely as a painting is an extension of its painter. And of these unique personalities, none is more interesting than the guy who started it all."

"The interviews don't really capture him. To do that, you need to watch him at work, which for most of us is limited to reading the kernel development mailing list -- which for most of us would be a heavy burden, in that the kernel list some days spews 200 messages. The vast majority of those messages are understandable only to serious kernel hackers or, at least, those who are heavily into operating system theory (yes, there is such a thing)."

"If one were to read the kernel list (which I do, and I believe some of it will have soaked in by the turn of the century), one would be amazed by the competence of the huge number of people involved in creating the kernel. But more than that, one would be amazed by Linus himself. The guy is tremendously bright. He also knows an enormous amount. ("You really know your kernel," someone wrote to him not long ago. "That's why I'm paid the big bucks," was his reply.)"

"Some of his posts are technical delights, prose interspersed with illustrative bits of code, the way a reporter uses quotes. Some of his posts are delights for other reasons, and those are the ones that are the subject of this column."

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